Thomson's Violinist Case Study

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In this paper I will discuss whether or not this purposeful termination is morally permissible by referencing the well-known violinist case by Judith Jarvis Thomson. I will begin by describing Thomson’s violinist case and explaining what the case is meant to show. After which I will justify why it should be morally permissible to disconnect yourself from the violinist. Once the violinist case has been thoroughly discussed, I shall then raise disanalogies that exist between the violinist case and the case of pregnancy that would prevent the conclusion from generalizing to any case of pregnancy. Following the disanalogies to Thomson’s case, I will provide the alterations that can be made to the case to try and eliminate such disanalogies. In …show more content…
When you wake up you are told that the violinist has an ailment, which will kill him unless he is allowed to share your kidneys for a nine-month period. During this time the violinist will be unconscious and you are required to stay in bed with him. After the nine-month period the violinist will be completely cured, given that you had cooperated and you can detach yourself from him. This scenario is meant to show that even if you claim that a fetus has the full moral rights of a human being, particularly the right to life, abortion is still morally permissible, on occasion, and for reasons other than to save the woman’s life. I do believe that Thomson succeeds in proving her point that a woman can get an abortion for other reasons than just to save her life. However, according to the violinist case, it seems the only other reason that a woman can get an abortion is if the woman was unwillingly impregnated, such as in rape cases. The violinist case parallels unwilling pregnancies because both are completely a result of force, whereas in the case of a woman who has sexual intercourse willingly, becoming attached to someone (a fetus) is a foreseeable consequence of her …show more content…
Contrastingly, in an abortion case, when having an abortion, the death of the fetus is often intended at least as a means and often as an end. For instance, when disconnecting form the violinist, you are not doing so because you want him to die, although by disconnecting it can be foreseen that he will die. However, in the case of abortion, you want to disconnect from the fetus because you want the fetus to die so the child won’t be born, thus making killing the fetus a means to an end. I can change the violinist case by asking you to imagine that you are the second best violinist in the world, in order to become the best violinist in the world you must kill the violinist currently connected to you. Your main intent for disconnecting yourself is now to kill the violinist. Is it still morally permissible for you to disconnect yourself from him? I think not. The reason behind my answer is based on Kantian ethics. Kant would say it is impermissible to use someone as a means to an end or as an end in and of itself. Just because you have a means of killing the violinist available to you now that he is attached to you does not justify you using the means. Equally, since the fetus is a person with a right to life, you may not use it as a means to an end or as an end in and of itself either. Therefore, it would be morally impermissible to

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